In the good old days of baseball, families could easily afford a stadium’s admission prices, enjoy some snacks during the game, and sometimes even get lucky enough to run onto the field afterwards to celebrate a victory. Lately, tickets have become prohibitively expensive and overpriced fast food franchises have replaced traditional baseball food vendors. Additionally, heightened security has made it nearly impossible to bring your own refreshments into stadiums. It now costs a great deal of money to take your family to see a professional baseball game. But, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you play smart.

Look for Ticket Bargains and Promotions

According to a national marketing report, the average ticket price is now $38.94. Considering that adds up to just over $150 just for a family of four’s tickets to a single game, it can be hard for  many families to afford. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save on admission tickets.

Attending a weekday game is generally cheaper.  Savvy fans can score a deal on tickets using Groupon and Living Social during slower seasons when teams try to boost their attendance numbers.

Some teams also offer Family Fun Days, where you can buy ticket packages with a hot dog and soda included for each person.

Additional perks — Whether it is a free t-shirt, a ball cap giveaway, or a post-game fireworks display, you can get more bang for your buck if you buy tickets for games with promotions like these.

Park for Cheap

With an average parking price of $25 on game day, saving money on parking can be vital for a family attending a baseball game. You can find many cheaper options available such as carpooling or parking for free in a nearby neighborhood and walking or riding the bus in. If these options aren’t available, then parking for free on the surrounding streets and taking an Uber will still be a much cheaper option than paying full price for parking.

Pass on the Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Baseball snack items are prohibitively overpriced, but there is a simple alternative to forgoing snacks altogether: just bring your own!

Some ballparks allow outside food and nonalcoholic drinks in. Check with your local stadium’s food policies before you go, but sneaking in small snacks shouldn’t be too problematic. The idea that hot dogs and Cracker Jacks are crucial to a fun day at the game is just a good marketing ploy used to boost concession stand sales. Focus on the game and enjoy your own food without having to wait in long lines for unhealthy food.

Don’t Watch the Game Through Beer Goggles

Fans often think that beer is integral to a fun baseball experience, but with an average of $8.98 for a single beer, is it really worth it?
Alcohol is forbidden in most baseball parking lots to prohibit tailgaters and ensure fans arrive thirsty, so check the rules before drinking a beer outside before you go into the stadium. Going to the game sober doesn’t diminish your entertainment of the game with your family, and it’ll save you quite a bit of money.

Buy Your Merchandise Before You Get to the Stadium 

Prices of baseball caps, jerseys, stuffed animals, and other gear sold in stadium merchandise shops can make your head spin. As tempting as it is to buy that $20 cap when you arrive, it’s better to get your shopping done beforehand at a local sporting goods store or online. Amazon and eBay will save you 30-50% off the retail price.

You might be surprised to find that a family day of fun at the ballpark is still perfectly manageable if you approach it with a money-saving strategy. If you’re ready to root, root, root for the home team without burning through your entire paycheck in the process, then batter up for these money-saving tips.  Oh, and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!